MANHATTAN (CN) – Shakira ex-lover and longtime business partner says in court that the Latin superstar owes him $100 million for the work he put into her career.
Antonio de la Rua says his relationship with the Colombian-born singer, whose birth name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, began in 2000, and that he took over control of the “Shakira brand,” at her request, in 2004.
De la Rua, the son of a former Argentine president, takes credit for negotiating Shakira’s 10-year, $300 million contract with Live Nation in 2008, as well as her fragrance deal.
“The combination of de la Rua’s business and marketing talents with defendant’s artistic talent, beauty, and sex appeal succeeded in propelling the value of the partnership far beyond anything either had previously achieved or believed possible,” the complaint in New York County Supreme Court states.
When the couple split in late 2010, Shakira announced on her website that they would “continue to be partners in our business and professional lives.”
“Antonio continues to oversee and conduct my business and career interests as he has always done,” according to the post, which is still available online. “We move forward as partners, developing projects together, working hand in hand and in close communication.”
De la Rua said that Shakira separately emailed the CEO of Live Nation that “[the break-up] only involves the romantic aspect of our relationship, not any other aspect whatsoever. … His [de la Rua’s] word is mine. … We continue to be partners in all of our projects.”
On that basis, de la Rua allegedly resolved a “crisis” later that year that jeopardized the Live Nation deal.
“Only two weeks later, and without any advance warning, Mebarak proposed to ‘terminate’ de la Rua from the partnership in October 2011,” the complaint states. “She did not speak to de la Rua directly, but instructed a lawyer to tell him that he had been ‘terminated.’ From that day, Mebarak has adopted a strategy of trying to rewrite history, which includes denying the existence of a partnership, belittling de la Rua’s contributions to the partnership, and mischaracterizing past events.”
Apparently alluding to Shakira’s relationship with Spanish footballer Gerard Pique, de la Rua said that the recent behavior of his former flame may reflect that she has “moved on in her personal life.”
“Whether that is true or not, Mebarak is not entitled to ignore the fact that, as a business partner, de la Rua has a financial interest in the partnership that exists entirely separate and apart from their former romantic relationship,” the complaint states.
“Mebarak has wrongfully refused to pay de la Rua his percentage of the profits of the partnership for 2011 or the value of his share of the partnership upon dissolution.”
The complaint notes that de la Rua lives in Uruguay, and that Shakira maintains a home in New York, though she lives in Spain. The 35-year-old singer and Pique are expecting their first child.
De la Rua seeks $100 million in damages, plus an accounting and disgorgement, for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. He is represented by Rachel Fleishman with Reid Collins & Tsai.
Shakira’s representatives at Sony Music and Rogers and Cowan did not return a request for comment.
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